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Newscast 03.17.22: Second Funnel at the Iowa Legislature as Some Bills May Not Survive; Woodbury County Farm Sale Could Benefit Law Enforcement Center

The Iowa Legislative Session
The Iowa Legislative Session

It was used long ago to allow needy residents to grow

The Iowa House has passed a bill that would prohibit state and local officials from imposing restrictions on religious institutions, like churches, that aren’t imposed on businesses and other secular institutions.

Republican Representative Skyler Wheeler of Orange City said it’s a response to things that happened during the pandemic.

The only Democrat to speak during House debate called it “a good bill” and he encouraged other Democrats to vote yes. The bill passed the House on a 93-1 vote. Similar legislation is pending in the Iowa Senate.

Bills that would cut unemployment benefits, create state-funded scholarships for private schools, and change how schools inform parents about books are still in play at the Iowa Legislature. That’s after Republican leaders used procedural moves to keep them eligible for debate.

Senate Democratic Leader Zach Wahls says he thinks the House and Senate haven’t passed these bills yet because the policies are unpopular. Recent polling by the Des Moines Register shows a majority of Iowans oppose cuts to unemployment benefits and state-funded scholarships for kids to go to private schools.

“I do think that we’re going to see some of these bills come unjammed here in some of the closing days of session but I think it’s just too soon to say what’s going to get over the finish line.”

Republican House Speaker Pat Grassley says it just takes time to work out legislation about big concepts like unemployment changes and transparency related to school library books.

April 19th is the final day of the 2022 legislative session.

Woodbury County's farm will be sold at a public auction on March 22.

The county supervisors, which had previously agreed to sell the 184-acre farm, agreed to the auction date this week.

For the past year, the board has discussed selling the farm, initially to offset higher than expected construction costs for the new Law Enforcement Center.

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